ERNIE TIPPING, known affectionally as Kojak at Oxford Speedway, has passed away at the age of 92.
For many years, he went around the stadium selling magazines, such as the Speedway Star, Speedway Mail and Cheetahs Chronicle fanzine. His banter with the away fans added much to the atmosphere at meetings.
He was known almost universally as Kojak, due to his resemblance – particularly in the lack of hair department – to Telly Savalas from the American crime drama.
Chargers’ Rider Of The Night sponsor and fellow Garsington resident Rob Jeffery, who was his chauffer to Oxford Stadium in 2022 and 2023, said: “Ernie, known fondly as Kojak, was a huge part of the night of Oxford Speedway.
“I remember him first as a fan and then going around the stadium selling Speedway Stars. He handed out sweets to my three young children and gave them all 50p each weekly. I’m sure he did this with many others, and he was a big supporter of the Garsington Sports Club where he attended the speedway reunion in 2019 too.
His friendly banter with the away fans was the stuff of legend, especially when Swindon were the visitors. I’m sure the Swindon fans will be sad as we are that Ernie is no longer with us, because it was all good fun and created many memories.
“He loved his speedway and we were happy to get him along to meetings in the last couple of years, until he taken ill in the summer. He loved being able to attend Oxford Speedway again, and I know he’ll be much missed.”
PHOTO: Vicky Jeffery